If there's an appropriate time to play the blues, it's after you've just watched the team you own get pillar-to-post spanked in the building you own (but are being told you'll have to leave), while the guy who followed up an $18 million payday with a deliberately delayed knee surgery and a drug suspension comes back with a thud and the fans chant for your head coach's head. Plus, y'know, a gig's a gig. I can't fault New York Knicks owner James Dolan for doing his level best to shake off a bad Sunday afternoon with a hot-licks-infused Sunday evening via his JD & The Straight Shot project.
I can, however, wish he'd take it easy in the between-cuts-banter. From ESPN New York's Ian Begley:
Dolan played a show with his band, JD and the Straight Shot, a few hours after the Knicks lost by 31 points to the San Antonio Spurs.
In between songs during the show at The Cutting Room, he talked to the audience about the Knicks and Rangers.
"Thanks to the Rangers, who brought me a win," Dolan said. "Unfortunately, the basketball [team] couldn't do it today. We're going to win the next game, that's a guarantee."
I'm guessing that's news to the 3-3 Atlanta Hawks, whom the Knicks visit on Wednesday. Mike Budenholzer's Hawks have the NBA's sixth-best offense through six games, thanks in large part to the interior combo of center Al Horford (18 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.7 blocks, two steals and strong behind-the-box-score play in both ends) and forward Paul Millsap (20.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, two steals and a block per game). One would suspect that they think might be looking forward to attacking an Andrea Bargnani-led interior defense.
It's also news to Knicks fans who have, y'know, watched the team stagger throughout their first six games, often seeming incapable of either mounting an offensive attack or deterring an oncoming opponent, and who don't think much of anything seems guaranteed for the boys in orange and blue these days. Ditto, it seems, for forward Carmelo Anthony:
Carmelo on Jim Dolan's guarantee: "I guess we gotta win." Later said: "Our owner had a concert?"
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) November 11, 2013
Yeah, Carmelo. He did. Expect him to awkwardly mention that he didn't see you there the next time you run into him in the halls, and then hand you a flyer for an upcoming battle of the bands.
As Dolan-related stuff goes, an idle guarantee from the stage is fairly innocuous compared to random absurdities like (allegedly) kiboshing the Knicks City Dancers, (allegedly) firing and re-hiring a security guard who didn't recognize him, (allegedly) having Anthony's in-game chatter recorded via remote microphone, (allegedly) declining to match the Houston Rockets' offer sheet to restricted free agent Jeremy Lin because he felt "betrayed" and "deceived" or the million other tantrum-inspired oddball decisions Lord Jim has made over the years.
It is, however, the sort of empty, tone-deaf bravado that makes it really hard to like Dolan, even when he does legitimately good things, and makes it hard to really hard to like the Knicks, even when they're more fun than they've been in a long while. It's of a piece with jettisoning the general manager who constructed last year's 54-28 team a month before the start of the season for, um, reasons?, and making it clear that he expects a championship despite lording over a team that looked for all the world like a second-round squad at best (and now, without Tyson Chandler's services for at least a month, maybe far less than that), and creating an environment that generates rumblings of coaching upheaval a week into the season.
About that upheaval: Woodson was reportedly called to a post-game meeting with Dolan after the loss and before the Straight Shot guarantee. While you'd suspect it wasn't the most friendly debriefing in the world, given how summarily the Knicks were embarrassed on Sunday, Woodson declined to share any details about it on Monday:
Woodson, on his reported meeting w Dolan: "That's not your all's business. That's me and my owner's business." — Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) November 11, 2013
So with Woodson's seat growing warmer, Chandler out of commission, Anthony struggling to find room to operate and carry the offense, J.R. Smith looking like he'll need some time to find his rhythm, Bargnani having a clearly defined negative impact on the Knicks on both ends of the floor, Amar'e Stoudemire looking like a mere shell of his former All-Star self, Kenyon Martin only available for limited minutes in non-consecutive games, Raymond Felton shooting 37.5 percent from the floor and 24 percent from 3-point range, Iman Shumpert's name being included in trade rumors, and an apparent shortfall of readily available answers for how to get the team back on track, there's precious little reason to believe things might get brighter on Broadway in the near future.
Well, except for this, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
[Dolan] and his band will also be on tour with the Eagles again much of November, so he’ll have his distractions.
I can't believe I'm about to say this, but: thank heaven for the Eagles, I guess.
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